The controversy that has developed results from the existance of 5 different hooks that have been causing injuries to the fish as they tangle in the rig when attacking it. Some professional fishing organizations are also banning the use of this rig in tournaments because they feel it takes some of the sporting challenge away. Regardless of the controversy, this rig does indeed catch fish.
I have not been a big fan of the Alabama Rig for two main reasons. First, as a casting rig, it is heavy and requires heavier equipment for its use.Repeated use as a casting rig easily tires the fisherman. Also as a casting rig, its weight makes control of the rig difficult, especially in shallow water. My main complaint as a trolling rig is its cost and ease with which it is hooked up and lost. When completely outfitted with jigs and plastic bait attached, the cost is close to $20, which is very expensive for most non-professional fishermen. To help reduce loss of this rig, I have done some testing and constructed a chart that shows the relationship between the boat speed when trolling, and the depth that the rig sinks at different boat speeds. This will help a fisherman keep the rig far enough off the bottom to prevent loss of the rig. There will of course be some variations in the numbers based on the size and type of jigs and plastic bait used. For my tests I used 1/8 ounce jig heads and three inch plastic minnows. The chart that I developed is shown below.